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June 29, 2007

{     Watain - Sworn to the Dark     }    

"In the end, frankly speaking, we are not here to play black metal-- we are here to fuck the world." - Erik Danielsson vocals/bass

If that is Watain's Mission Statement, then Sworn to the Dark is the band's ultimate fuck-bomb, cruising through the night like an infernal ICBM, ready to deliver it's payload of envenomed plague-virus wherever it touches down, spawning a mushroom-cloud of inky black Satanic darkness that will enshroud all those within earshot. There is no questioning Watain's commitment to The Serpent, nearly every track on Sworn to the Dark is an ode to his majesty or an invocation of his black power, the album roils and seethes with a tremendous and dark reptilian presence that will not be denied. It is a monument to all that is evil, and the shadow that it casts across the current crop of wannabes and wish-we-weres is long and inescapable.
The means of delivery is a potent brew of black metal and death tempered with native Swedish thrash. It manages to satisfy all the BM troo/kvlt criterion while also shredding your fucking face off with a speed and heaviness missed by most black metalists. Suppurating blast beats fracture into heavy doom-rhythms, trebly guitar lines flay into nine-tailed thrash riffs and even the vocals manage to sound alternately blackened, disgusted and fiercely growled. This is black metal with balls.

Opener "Legions of the Black Light" sets the pace well by giving you an ample taste of just how varied Watain can be. The initial crescendoing guitar lines and blastbeats quickly resolve into a dirty black-and-roll groove that trucks along for about two-and-a-half minutes before the bottom drops out, the tempo shifts and the call-to-arms chorus is belted out around a thickened start-stop circle-pit chug. This then blends back into shimmery blastbeats and wall-of sound guitar work that cascade into a pronounced howling wail before dropping back into the groove around the two-thirds mark. Forlorn riffs rise and fall as the track again moves towards it's chugging chorus, carrying through to the end with the ferocity of a starving rabid wolf. It's 8 minutes of violent fury that showcase a plethora of influences and a willingness to take their sound wherever it needs to go to reach maximum evilosity.
That intensity is threaded throughout the album, as a whole, Sworn to the Dark stands as one of the most relentlessly brutal pieces of metal I've heard thus far this year.
I'm loving the Slayer-esque breakdown on "Storm of the Antichrist", it's a real old-school thrash feather in the band's cap. The title track proves as devastating as one would hope, packing a wallop with it's shouted proclamation/rally-cry chorus. The closer, "Stellavore", is a cosmic Cthonic incantation of epic proportions, replete with an operatic chorus and raw-throated prayer-scream to the "god of Death".
Purists of the genre may take Watain to task for Sworn to the Dark's somewhat polished production values, but what it lacks in BM dirtiness it more than makes up for in it's affront to all that is holy and right in the world. And to call anything this guttural and feral "polished" is to descend into the pettiest of nitpickery. Sworn to the Dark is undeniably evil, black and proud.

     » TempleOfWatain


Posted by: Aaron at June 30, 2007 1:06 PM

Sick... good see you throwing down Adam. "Because frankly speaking, we are not hear to post we are here to fuck the world."

Posted by: manuel at June 30, 2007 3:30 PM
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